ATHENS, Ohio – Thanks to a header from Alivia Milesky (Plain City, Ohio) in the 72nd minute, the Ohio soccer team (3-1-0) defeated Cleveland State (1-3-0), 1-0, on Sunday (Aug. 27) afternoon at Chessa Field. The victory has given Ohio its best four-game start since 2002.
"It's amazing," head coach Aaron Rodgers said. "The team has responded very well from a disappointing loss on Friday night. It was a long trip, we drove down to North Carolina, played, then came back and it's not easy to be in the bus that along. Especially after playing a very tough game, for your body to have to recover from that and to come out today with much more grit and much more fight were some of the things we were lacking Friday night and to come out today and show what we're made of, against a very good team and I give a lot of credit to Cleveland state. They played a very good game, they're having a very good year and I know they're going to do very well in their conference,"
Ohio put pressure on the Cleveland State keeper early on, with Victoria Breeden (Hudson, Ohio) forcing a save in the third minute. Then, two minutes later, Sydney Leckie (Medina, Ohio) would send a ball to the net, once again forcing the CSU keeper to make a save. Ohio would get their third shot of the game in the eighth minute, however, the Viking keeper would make another save to keep the game scoreless.
CSU would get their first offensive action in the ninth minute when Jenna Prathapa would fire the ball at the net and starting keeper, Erin Beurket (Milford, Ohio), would just get her hand on the ball to force it to go high. The Vikings would add two more chances in the 10th and 13th minute, however Beurket would also make those saves keeping the game 0-0.
After the offensive play the opening 15 minutes, both defenses would pick up and then next shot of the game would come in the 34th minute when Bryce Hueber (Cincinnati, Ohio) fired a shot to the net that was collected by the CSU keeper, keeping the game 0-0.
The game would go into the half tied at 0-0. Overall, the Bobcats recorded four shots, all of them on goal, while CSU registered four shots with three of them on goal.
Beurket got the start in the first half and did not allow a goal on four shots faces, all while registering three saves.
Ohio would get the first chance in the second half when Hannah Jaggers (Taylorsville, Ky.) would fire a ball in the 37th minute that would be blocked by the CSU defense.
The Bobcats best chance of the game came in the 38th minute when Leckie would get the ball on the breakaway and fire the ball to the net that would trickle just by the CSU keeper and hit off the post, keeping the game 0-0.
Then in the 53rd minute, Allie Curry (Fairfield, Ohio) would get the ball right in front of the net, but the CSU keeper would once again be able to make the save, keeping the game scoreless.
Cleveland State got their first shot of the second half in the 67th minute when Prathapa would force Sydney Malham (Nashville, Tenn.) to make the save.
Ohio would go back on the offensive press when in the 70th minute, Paige Knorr (Cincinnati, Ohio) would get a shot off that would go wide of the post, keeping the game scoreless.
Ohio's hard work would finally pay off moments later in the 72nd minute when Remi Eades (New Albany, Ohio) would line up for a free kick and fire it toward the waiting head of Milesky who would send it just to the left of the keeper, giving Ohio a 1-0 lead.
Play was closely contested for the remainder of the match with Cleveland State pressing hard to equalize. Malham and the Bobcats' back line were able to block or limit any chances and ultimately finished the afternoon victorious.
"It feels great. Coming into this game we knew that they were gonna come at us hard from last year with the 5-0 win from us and we knew that we just had to put our heads down and win another one on Chessa," Milesky said.
The match was hard fought, with the Vikings registering 13 fouls to Ohio's five.
"They certainly created a lot going forward today that we were happy about," Assistant coach Debs Brereton said. "Playing against a back three allowed us to expose the wide areas and we're taking maybe a little bit too many shots from distance. Very much credit goes to Remi [Eades] to execute that stroke of genius and for Alivia to get on the end of it and nod it in like that. Absolutely spot on from both of them. Superb goal and first-class effort."
Overall, Ohio outshot CSU, 15-7 and had eight shots on goal. Curry led the way with four shots, while Milesky registered three, with all of them on goal.
In net, Beurket and Malham split time once again, combining for their third shutout of the season while making a combined five saves.
The Bobcats will have a week off before they return to action on Sunday, Sept. 3 when they head to Cincinnati, Ohio to face off against Xavier. Game time is set for 1 p.m.